How to prevent 7 common safety hazards around the home
More than half of all emergency department presentations are for injuries that happened at home.
But many of these injuries are preventable with some basic home safety checks.
7 common hazards in the home
Every day, more than 270 people are hospitalised in Australia due to a fall. Many of these falls happen at home.
Falls can happen to anyone, so take precautions early.
Remove slip, trip and fall hazards
- Teach kids to store small toys after play.
- Swap loose rugs for the non-skid variety.
- Tidy power cords and other clutter.
- Make sure the top and bottom of the stairs are well-lit.
- Install a safety gate if you have toddlers or babies.
- Use high contrast tape if you have trouble visualising the steps.
- Use anti-slip panels or grips.
Get slip-resistant footwear
Rubber-soled shoes, or other slip-proof footwear can really help secure your footing. If safe sandals are too daggy for you, at the very least, don’t wear socks on smooth flooring.
Make your bathroom slip-proof
Non-slip stickers come in handy for making bathrooms safer for the entire family. Place them on shower and bathroom floors, and other damp areas.
Lesser-known tip: replace slippery tile floors with sandstone or pebble tiles. You’ll never have to use non-slip mats or stickers again!
Many of us have had common fire safety lessons drilled into us: don’t leave a candle unattended, install fire alarms, don’t leave anything near an open flame.
Here are some house fire prevention tips you might not have considered:
- Keep fire blankets in an accessible spot away from the stove.
- Regularly test your smoke alarm and give it a battery change.
- Clean your dryer’s lint filter every time you use it.
- Get a professional to regularly inspect your fireplace and electrical systems.
- Switch to child-proof lighters if you have kids.
- Never fold your electric blanket – always roll it.
AAMI Home Insurance covers fires (and bushfires)
We cover loss or damage caused by fire – including bushfire – heat, ash, soot and smoke, within 100 metres of the insured address.* If you have contents only or home and contents insurance, and your belongings are damaged or unrepairable after an insured event, we’ll replace them new for old. This means we’ll replace them with something of the same standards and specs, but not necessarily the same brand, depending on availability.
Did you know that most burn injuries occur at home? This is why burn and scald prevention should be a huge part of home safety.
Lower your water temperature
If the water coming out of your taps is a little on the hot side, check what temperature it’s set at. To prevent scalds, the water delivered to your taps should be around 50 degrees.
But remember, the temperature of your storage water tank should be set at a minimum of 60 degrees to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Buy stove knob covers if you have young kids
Stove knob covers are an inexpensive way to stop little hands from turning the oven or stove on. They’re also easy for adults to install and use.
For general babyproofing tips, check out this article.
Use the back burners first
It’s also a good idea to turn the handles on pots and pans towards the back of the stove so you’re less likely to bump into them.
Use child locks
If you have kids, it’s important to lock away:
- detergent and other cleaning products,
- paint, and
- other potentially toxic items.
It’s worth taking the time, even if you never leave your kids unsupervised. Remember, it only takes a moment for a curious child to sip out of the bleach bottle.
Never mix cleaning products without reading the label
Certain chemical combos produce toxic gases. As a rule, you should never mix these combos:
- Bleach and vinegar.
- Baking soda and vinegar.
- Bleach and rubbing alcohol.
- Two different drain cleaners.
Always check the label when handling cleaning products, especially bleach.
Always check if plants and flowers are pet-safe
Did you know that at least 42 different species of plants and flowers in Australia are toxic to cats? Lillies are particularly dangerous – even a speck of pollen can be lethal to a cat, if ingested.
Keep your furry friends safe and always research plant species before bringing them into your home. Don’t forget to do the same for those spontaneous bouquet deliveries!
How to keep yourself safe
- Point the knives and forks down in the dishwasher.
- Make sure mirrors are securely attached.
- Store garden tools away after using them.
- Be aware of rust and splinters, particularly around old furniture or equipment.
How to keep the kids safe
- Use baby locks to secure cutlery drawers and areas where other sharp objects are kept.
- Keep glass objects far from reach.
- Keep the kids a safe distance away when unloading the dishwasher so they don’t grab something sharp.
- Don’t leave the razor, nail scissors and other similar items lying around.
It’s also a good idea to keep a first aid kit at home. Here’s how to start building one.
Stay covered with Accidental Damage Cover
Your standard home or contents insurance policy covers you for insured events like storm, burglary, or fire. But if you’re after extra protection, you can add on optional cover for Accidental Damage at Home. This covers you for loss or damage caused by accidents around the house – say, if you spill wine on a rug or damage a wall when shifting furniture.**
This cover can apply to your house itself, your contents or both, depending on what policy you hold.
Sidenote: Accidental Damage at Home won’t cover you for bodily injuries. You’ll need Life Insurance for that.
Did you know that nearly one in three kids in Australia drown because they were left unsupervised while their parents were distracted by household chores.
If you’re a parent, here are some rules to follow:
- Never leave kids in or near water unattended, even if you’re just popping into the kitchen to check the stove.
- Use a safety lock on your toilet bowl.
- Never leave buckets of water around the house.
- Keep your pool fenced off and secure.
- Consider using door knob covers to keep the bathroom off limits for babies and young kids.
Use the toilet roll trick
Unsure of whether something is a choking hazard for kids? Put it to the toilet roll test. If it fits inside a toilet roll, it’s a choking hazard that should be stored away.
How often should you do home safety checks?
This depends on the age of your house and your specific living situation.
Generally, electrical safety checks should be conducted every six months, preferably by a licensed electrician.
You should also do general home maintenance checks at least once a year. For tips on where to start, check out these five common maintenance issues linked to home insurance claims.
Consider AAMI Home Assist as an optional extra
AAMI Home Assist gets you help from a plumber, electrician, locksmith or carpenter if you have a home emergency. This applies 24/7, so you won’t have to worry about a burst pipe in the middle of the night.***
- Your guide to autumn home maintenance with AAMI
- Baby-proofing your home
- Common maintenance issues linked to home insurance claims
*Conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Please read your Product Disclosure Statement for the full details.
**Read the Product Disclosure Statement for more details, including how we settle building and contents claims, limits and exclusions.
***Home Assist is only for Building or Building and Contents. This cover is not applicable for Contents only, Fire and Theft Contents, Landlord and Strata.
Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.